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The Plain Truth – October/November 1981
The Plain Truth – October/November 1981
Most Costly Is Cheapest

from Herbert W. Armstrong

The most costly nonspecialty automobile is the Rolls-Royce. In early 1962 I bought one in London. I was spending probably more time in England then, because of the English campus of Ambassador College, than at Pasadena.

I paid £11,000 for it. Extravagance? Perhaps some thought so, but it was the least expensive car I ever owned. Now, after using it for nearly 20 years, I sold it for £14,000.

Most people seem to think whatever costs less is the better value. That is not true of material goods, nor of spiritual values. I have always believed in conscientious quality, whether in material commodities or character values.

When I was a boy of 19, I was sent by a big lumber company to be timekeeper and paymaster in its lumber mill in southern Mississippi. It was my first trip of any distance away from home in Des Moines, Iowa. The vice president of the lumber company called me to his office to give me some sound advice as a young man starting out in life.

That was in January, 1911. Of course travel then was primarily by train. Always, he advised, when possible travel by Pullman car. It would be cheaper in the long run. It would put me in the company of a better class of people. It would be safer. It would be cleaner. Always, unless one could not afford it, stay, in traveling, at the leading or best hotel in any city. If necessary to economize, ask for a lower-priced room. But the same advantage obtained as on trains. We are influenced by every person with whom we come in contact. I have since traveled on daycoaches, and stayed in second-class hotels – but only when I could not afford better. This millionaire did advise me, also, to live within my means. If I couldn’t afford the best, take what I could afford, but strive to succeed and get to be able to afford the best.

When Ambassador College was built in Pasadena, it was indeed a financial struggle. I did not go beyond what we could afford. But, as God made it possible, I did try to build the BEST! You see, I was not really building this college. Christ IN me was. I was merely His instrument. But I knew that whatever God did, it was written of it, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was VERY GOOD.”

God believes whatever we do should be the best possible. But as Christ’s instrument, I knew Jesus said we should not start to build something without enough to finish it. I saw how King David had wanted to build a temple for God’s worship. It was to be the finest building on earth, and would cost today billions of dollars. I wanted to build at Pasadena an auditorium at the present headquarters of God’s Work. I didn’t think God would want a building here even remotely as costly as Solomon’s temple at Jerusalem. It would not be a really large auditorium, but one seating 1,250. But I did want it, and believed Christ IN me wanted it to be the FINEST in character and quality.

I prayed about it. I wanted God’s direction. I knew He would not have built here a building of inferior or cheap quality. I also knew He would not be building it through me if there was not enough money to complete it. I asked, if He wanted me to proceed, to provide in advance assured finances to complete it. I refused to start it until God had supplied complete financing. I did proceed with architects’ plans and specifications. I found it was going to cost $11 million. That seemed impossible, even beyond providential provision. Nevertheless, I refused to proceed without being provided financial ability to complete it. I had to wait two years. Then the miracle happened. God provided 100 percent financing. It seemed an unheard-of and unprecedented thing, for banks and insurance companies do not provide such financing for churches or colleges. Yet God provided 100 percent financing before I, shovel in hand, broke ground.

The Ambassador Auditorium was completed on schedule, spring of 1974. It is generally considered by performing artist celebrities as the finest auditorium on earth, cubic inch by cubic inch. What is even more important to them, the acoustics are perfect – as by faith I knew they would be. And Ambassador Auditorium today is recognized worldwide as a center for the performing arts in Southern California, beside being the home for God’s headquarters church.

The Ambassador College campus has three times won the award of being the most beautiful best-landscaped and best-maintained campus in the United States. I know Jesus Christ is pleased.

Quality and character cost a little more. It’s the same in SPIRITUAL CHARACTER – the primary purpose of human life. The way to high spiritual character is not easy. Such character cannot be bought cheaply. One has to PAY THE PRICE!

Jesus spoke of the EASY way, the road most people travel. “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14, RSV).

A life of overcoming and building righteous, spiritual character is not easy. It’s costly. But it leads to the TRUE RICHES – ETERNITY!